Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area is a great place to be if you’re a foodie. And, as the recently announced 2019 Michelin Bib Gourmand winners list proves, you don’t have to spend a lot of to get a truly memorable meal. Of the 68 restaurants included, three of those are in the South Bay, one in San Jose, one in Campbell, and another in Los Gatos.
The Bib Gourmand heralds the announcement of the Michelin Star winners. But that doesn’t make these “restaurant runners up” any less deserving. In fact, eateries receiving this distinction are favorites among those elusively anonymous Michelin food inspectors; these are the places they frequent on their own time and where they spend their own money.
The Bib Gourmand honor designates restaurants that offer “exceptionally good food for moderate prices.” To receive this award, they must serve a noteworthy two-course meal with wine or dessert for $40 or less, not including tax and gratuity.
In San Jose, Luna Mexican Food located at 1495 The Alameda made the 2019 list, wooing Michelin’s food inspectors with their fresh tortillas and high quality ingredients. Open for only one year, this award is a serious accomplishment and bodes well for the launch of its second location in early 2019. It will be taking over the space previously occupied by El Burro in Campbell’s renovated Pruneyard Shopping Center.
Speaking of Campbell and The Pruneyard, Orchard City Kitchen, also earned a place on the Bib Gourmand for the third year running. Known for its worldly small bite menu, OCK is the brainchild of Chef Jeffrey Stout, who is no stranger to achieving the coveted Michelin Star. (He earned three in his previous culinary career at Alexander’s Steakhouse.) Chef Stout will be opening an Italian Steakhouse across the parking lot from OKC in the building vacated by Outback Steakhouse. Still about six months to a year away from opening, the restaurant will be named Be Steak A (a play on bistecca, the Italian word for steak.)
The Bywater in Los Gatos also made the Bib Gourmand list for 2019. Owned by David Kinch of Michelin-starred Manresa fame, The Bywater is a cozy neighborhood café serving up authentic Cajun and Creole dishes. Located at 526 N. Santa Cruz Avenue just outside of downtown, the service is friendly and the food is fantastic. In November 2018, Kinch also opened his third Manresa Bread location in downtown Campbell, which is branching out by operating as a café, unlike the Los Gatos and Los Altos locations, which only sell fresh-baked pastries and breads.
As this most recent Michelin list will attest, there is tremendous culinary talent in Silicon Valley and you don’t have to spend a lot to enjoy an exemplary meal. If you haven’t already, be sure to make reservations at these three Bib Gourmand winning restaurants.